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Background music is "Suspended in Locos" by Elaine Fine © 2004
all rights reserved

(Originally composed for the collection of Etudes illustrating the concepts
of Chromatic Key accompanying the manual FUNCTIONAL CHROMATICISM.)
locrian.mid was orchestrated for Orchestral Harp by Dwight Winenger (BMI)
on Trax for Yamaha CBX-T3 synthesizer.

MIDI download is FREE; however, we ask you to please inform the composer of your interest.


We have customers around the world...


A sample page or so from



© Dwight Winenger 1996-2001

Relative and remote relationships of function
within "Chromatic Key"--

But before we get serious, how about listening to a piece written around a basic progression found in the text below, based on the charts:

Click here to AUDIT "Somber Cotillion" by Dwight Winenger.

"Functional Chromaticism For the Keyboard" has been termed "the most rigorous manifesto of Post-modern Art Music to date." If tonal functionality and chord configuration concepts are unfamiliar to you, you may want the entire manual; or you may want a rare copy of "Music For Dummies," of which "Functional Chromaticism" is essentially a simplified and expanded, second edition. Eventually, the finished publication will include etudes by well-known composers using Chromatic Key techniques.

Click on "Order form" below for more information.

Order form
(Now includes several etudes for keyboard)

Appendix D is related to what Arnold Schoenberg called "Regions" --major and minor--however, Schoenberg's regions dealt with scale relationships among often altered diatonic keys. The practice, common during early decades of the twentieth century, necessitated his denoting both major and minor regions. Relative and remote relationships within Chromatic Key deals with inter- and intra-"key" (tonal center) relationships among the layers of the modal continuum. The following chart is only a sample slice of a continuing potential of function among a nearly unlimited galaxy of relative tonality.

The chart, therefore, illustrates an ever-expanding system of relationships beginning with the acknowledged bases of function, the tonic-subdominant-dominant relationships. The chart assumes that the tritonic preparation may continue to its ultimate conclusion, a new major triad, which may, as in this case, become a new remote tonic (I) on another tone as key center instead of bV of the current tonal center (respellable as bVIIm+).

Figure 1. Chromatic function:


The following chart adds information concerning potential chromatic key resolutions:
(Circled functional root/configurations are already in Chromatic Key configuration. Resolutions to Chromatic Key configuration are listed below each functionality box with suggested continuation in parentheses.)

Figure 2. Tonal "touchstones":

bII7-bIIM7+ -(I)
bIIIm-bIIIM7+ -(VIIo7)
bVIIm+ -bVIIM7-(I)
bIIM7-bIIM7+ -(bVII)
bVI7-bVIM7+ -(IV)
bVIM6-bVIM7+ -(IV)

IV2 I3 I4
bVIm7-bVIM7+ -(bII7)
bIIIm+ -bIIIM7+ -(bVIm7)
bVIm+-bVIM7+ -(bII7)
IIm+ -IIm-(III-IIIm)
bIIM6-bIIM7+ -(III-IIIm)

The chart begins with a simple major third interval such as C-E as the basis of a "tonic" major triad (I). This is done because preparation for tritonic reflex originates in the major third (or an inverted minor sixth), reflexing to a tritone contained in a chord configuration. The tendency is for the altered tones to continue in the same direction, reflexing to the tones of a new major third interval. The "tonic" box above contains the scales within the Chromatic Key as represented by the chord composed of each scale's primary tones. Indicated chord configurations assume the possibility of added or subtracted tones for variety of harmonic density. The root and third of I (the tonic major triad, respelled IIIm+) are also present in IM7, VIm (respelled IM6), and I7 (respelled IIIo(b13)).

Root of I might as well be D as C, or any other of the twelve possible tones. The relationships remain the same. For example, if root of I is Db instead of C, then VIm is Bbm instead of Am. V7 is Ab7 instead of G7 and so forth.

At any point along a proposed course, a progression, however, relationships, or the course itself, may be altered from the proposed "perfect" tritonic progression. The chart indicates, for example, that the tritonic preparation which finds C descending to B and the E ascending to F simultaneously forming the reflexing tritone, may occur in two steps, as represented by the Ascending Transition box: C remains stationary as E ascends to F. The result may be the traditional Subdominant, IV (respelled VIm+). When the C finally completes the remainder of the transition to B, the result may be recognized as V7, the traditional dominant seventh (respelled here as VIIo(b13)). B and F, however, may also be constituents of bII7 or IVo7, with similar dominant quality, but of altered effect. Additionally, bII7 may be respelled as IVo(b13) for another variation in dominant effect, and IVo7 as VIIo7, bVIo7, or IIo7.

The resulting dominant chord (or scale), instead of resolving as expected to I as tonic, may resolve with tritonic reflex in consistent direction to bV, to bIIIm, to bV7, to bV+, to bVM7, or to bVIIm+, bVM6, or bVIIo(b13), respellings of the more direct configurations.

Rather than resolving directly to bV or its relatives, however, V7 may also follow a similar pattern of ascending transition to VII, VIIm, VM7, bVIm7, or one of their respellings, bIIIm+, IIM6, or VIIM6, then on to bV, here called the Remote Tonic-Subdominant. V7 may follow the less "strong" course of the descending transition to bVM7, bVII, bVIIm (which is similar to the Remote Tonic-Subdominant in effect), or to either of their respellings, IIm+ and bIIM6.

At some point along any of these possible courses, a configuration of tonic quality may be treated as new tonic (a major triad, a major seventh, a major sixth, a minor triad, a minor augmented triad, a diminished flat thirteenth, or even a dominant seventh chord. If so, another, totally surprising sequence, moves into a related "region" of Chromatic Key with the new tonic as key center. Relative nearness of relationships among regions of Chromatic Key centers becomes a moot point unless the composer purposely restricts the 12-tone scale, creating secondary configurations resembling diatonic scales. In this event, scales with the most tones in common are closest and those with the least tones in common are more remote as in Schoenberg's "regions."

Many of the functional root/configurations in the above chart are altered (transformations) from strict chromatic key. If one wishes to quickly "touch base" with chromatic key configurations to avoid the illusion of having wandered into diatonic regions, one may resolve the functional configuration to the chromatic key scale before progressing to a functional scale and proceeding.

In general, the suggested resolutions and their succeeding progressions allow one or more tones moving by half-steps to continue moving in the same direction and manner to a root that is in relative line of function. Tones moving upward will tend to describe new roots. Tones moving downward will tend to describe new major thirds.

Using alternate root spellings for diminished and augmented configurations, the original function chart yields forty-nine root/configurations, utilizing each of the twelve tones from two to six times in various functionalities. Not all possible configurations are indicated. We may therefore assume that roots and configurations may be considered as relatively separate entities. In general, progressions may move from relative tonic or subdominent function to dominant and back to tonic--or to remote tonic directly or through double-subdominant (the ascending transition)-- however, any root found in any functionality box, regardless of associated configuration may be considered as of the functionality indicated.

By the same token, any configuration found in any box may be considered to be of the relative functionality indicated. Note that some configurations are of vague functionality. Diminished flat-thirteenth, for example, is essentially a respelling of the dominant seventh, but may be found as a "relative" tonic. If unprepared, I7 will be a weak tonic suggesting secondary dominance, reflexing to the fifth below. Special circumstances of context, however, may emphasize an autonomous tonic character. A repetitive dominant-tonic codetta form, for example, may be used to emphasize tonic effect. The major seventh and major sixth arrive at their tonic characteristic by simply stopping before ultimate resolution to the absolute tonic triad. We have become accustomed to M7 and M6 as tonic configurations rather than as relative minor and as tonic suspension, which is what they really are. Major sixth and major seventh chords actually function on every level but dominant. Minor augmented, likewise, is a respelled major triad and may, therefore, be used as any functionality. Altered chords, transformations, suspensions, and the like function as they resolve and are, therefore, relatively of the same function as the chord to which they resolve, especially of the two configurations have the same tone as tonic. An example progression might be:

(I - IV - V(7)) - (IIIm - VIm - VIIo7) - (VII - bV) - (IVo7 - bIIIm - bVIIm) - (V7 - I)

This relatively simple progression moves from simple tonic to subdominant to dominant, then, using respelled roots, it makes the same circuit to dominant again, then by ascending transition to remote tonic/subdominant, another round of respelled roots from dominant/ascending transition/remote tonic to obvious dominant, to absolute tonic. This method of progression design incorporates repetition with variation within functional form.

If one adds an occasional Chromatic Key "touchstone," to the above progression and a couple key center "modulations," something similar to the following may develop. (Chromatic Key "touchstones" are in brackets, functional cycles are in parentheses):

key center--C: (I - IV - V(7)) - (IIIm -VIm - VIIo7 - [VII/7] ) - (VII7 - bV - [bV/7] - bVI ) - (IVo7 - bIIIm - [bIIIM7+] - I+ - bVIIm7) - (V7 - I(7)) F: (I - IV(7) - V(7)) - (IIIm - IIm - VIIo7 - [VII/7] ) - (VII7 - bV - [bV/7] - bII) - (IVo7 - IV7 - Eb: I - I+) G: (I - IV - V(7)) - (I) (M7 - 7) C: (I)

As mentioned earlier, any root may be treated as tonic (I), ignoring the configuration and its function shown on the chart. This is especially true if the preceding chord is transformed to a configuration of relative dominance to the new root as tonic. With each change of key center, one accesses a fresh "layer" of the modal continuum. In the above progression, for example, the ultimate I (C in the first section is altered to I7 (C7, which reflexes to F as I. A little later IVo7 is altered to IV7, which reflexes to Eb as I. Eb becomes remote tonic Eb+, and a new tonic, G, appears from nowhere in particular. G moves through the simple cadencial motif, I - IV - V7 - I, then I becomes IM7-(7), resolving finally to C, the original tonic. All this is rather prosaic. Much more inventive progressions are possible.

The augmented triad is indicated as a "Remote Tonic." The augmented triad has long been used for this special effect. Now we have a functional name for the effect, which essentially escapes conventional tonality by using a configuration not directly identifiable with a particular tonal orientation. The new designation indicates not only actual function, but potential function.

Schoenberg suggests that all diminished chords are subdominant in effect. This chart indicates that IVo7 (which may be respelled bVIo7, VIIo7, or IIo7 and their enharmonic spellings) is potentially relatively dominant in effect, especially if the root, approached by ascending half-step, resolves upward a half step to the new root.

The above understanding of scale relationships within Chromatic Key clearly explains traditional "strong" function and introduces additional resources of relative (or remote) function with expanded varieties of effect. The above relationships are, furthermore, based on actual tonal relationships rather than on mere conventional usage.
© Dwight Winenger 1996

The fully illustrated manual, "FUNCTIONAL CHROMATICISM For the Keyboard" is available in pre-publication manuscript form for $19.95 plus shipping and handling. Cost is applicable toward the final edition with proof-of-purchase. All orders benefit The Living Music Foundation, Inc. (tax-exempt)
(Now includes several etudes for keyboard)
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MIDI Download...

FREE download of fifteen MIDI files related to Functional Chromaticism:
Our goal is to collect some 20 etudes illustrating principles of Chromatic Key as set forth in "Functional Chromaticism for the Keyboard." We encourage member composers to submit one-page keyboard scores employing the concepts of Chromatic Key.

Our more recent contributions:

"Study in Subaeolian Major Chromatic Mode"
      Subtitled "A Picture of Subaeolian Blue" by Elaine Fine © 2004     (All Rights Reserved)

Audition on the left link - Download on the right:
1. Study in Subaeolian (Subaeolean major) [0:37 min.] Download - 2.31 KB subaeol.mid
      Subtitled "A Study in the Subphrygian Mode" by Elaine Fine © 2004     (All Rights Reserved)

Audition on the left link - Download on the right:
2. Subterfuge (Subphrygian mode) [0:37 min.] Download - 2.76 KB subphryg.mid
"Suspended in Locos"
      Subtitled "A Study in the Locrian Mode" (for harp) by Elaine Fine © 2004     (All Rights Reserved)

Audition on the left link - Download on the right:
3. Suspended in Locos (Locrian Mode) [1:15 min.] Download - 1.50 KB locrian.mid
"Morgana Rag" for Rhodes Piano by Serban Nichifor © 2004     (All Rights Reserved)

Audition on the left link - Download on the right:
4. Morgana Rag [1:40 min.] Download - 3.29 KB morgana.mid
"Studiu nr. 1" by Liana Alexandra © 2004     (All Rights Reserved)

Audition on the left link - Download on the right:
5. Studiu nr. 1 [0:54 min.] Download - 5.34 KB studiu1.mid

"Two Evening Songs for Piano" by Carson Cooman © 2000
All Rights Reserved

"Two Evening Songs for Piano" was composed for the keyboard collection intended as part of
"Functional Chromaticism For the Keyboard" by Dwight Winenger

Audition on the left link - Download on the right:
  1. I. Evensong (Subaeolean minor) Download - 2.29 KB evening1.mid

  2. II. Night Rumpus (Ionian major) Download - 3.56 KB evening2.mid

  3. "Dorian Diversion" (Dorian mode) Download - 3.33 KB dorian1.mid
    © Helen Stanley (ASCAP) 1997. all rights reserved.

  4. "Somber Cotillion" (from a progression construction illustrated in Index D above)
    © Dwight Winenger (BMI) 1996. all rights reserved. Download - 8.64 KB somber.mid

  5. "Intersections" for vibraphone (Illustrating fake book harmonies.)
    © Mickie D. Willis 1998. all rights reserved. Download - 1.46 KB intersex.mid

  6. "Aeolian Andante" for keyboard (Illustrating Pure Aeolian mode)
    © Dwight Winenger 2004. all rights reserved. Download - 1.39 KB aeolian.mid

  7. "Theme from Structural Variations for Solo Cello" for keyboard (illustrating the Diminished Scale)
    © Dwight Winenger 2004. all rights reserved. Download - 1.32 KB structur2.mid

"Small Suite for Piano: Three Etude-Inos" by Marshall Bialosky © 1997
All Rights Reserved
"Small Suite for Piano" was composed for the keyboard collection intended as part of
"Functional Chromaticism For the Keyboard" by Dwight Winenger

  1. I. Phrygian Etude-Ino Download - 1.1 KB (0:29.12 min.) phrygian.mid
  2. II. Mixolydian Etude-Ino Download - 2.2 KB (0:50.67 min.) mixolyd.mid
  3. III. Lydian Etude-Ino Download - 1.6 KB (1:00 min.) lydian.mid

"Four On a Row" by Emma Lou Diemer © 1997     (All Rights Reserved)

"Four on a Row" was composed for a keyboard collection © 1972 Charles Scribner's Sons.
(The book is no longer in print.) It has been contributed for use as part of
"Functional Chromaticism For the Keyboard" by Dwight Winenger
  1. "Four on a Row-I" (**) Download - 1.32 KB FourI.mid
  2. "Four on a Row-II" (**) Download - 2.19 KB FourII.mid
  3. "Four on a Row-III" (**) Download - 0.99 KB FourIII.mid
  4. "Four on a Row-IV" (**) Download - 1.64 KB FourIV.mid

** Alternative analyses in terms of Chromatic Key

MIDI download is FREE; however, we ask you to inform the composer(s) of your interest.

(Many of the above fifteen or so files were orchestrated by Dwight Winenger (BMI)
© 1997-2004 on Trax for Yamaha CBX-T3 synthesizer.)

Background music is "Suspended in Locos" by Elaine Fine © 2004
all rights reserved

(Originally composed for the collection of Etudes illustrating the concepts
of Chromatic Key accompanying the manual FUNCTIONAL CHROMATICISM.)
locrian.mid was orchestrated for Orchestral Harp by Dwight Winenger (BMI)
on Trax for Yamaha CBX-T3 synthesizer.

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